Archive for the ‘Dynamics 365’ category

Dynamics Ax 2012 and Ax 2009 -time for a Synergy Software Systems Health check?

October 8th, 2019

Many Dynamics Ax customers are still to make the transition to Dynamics 365.
Upgrading an Enterprise erp system needs planning, and executing across multiple companies and geographies needs time and resources. There may be extensive vertical solutions to upgrade from layered code to extensions and he company may already be involved with other projects.

Meanwhile its current systems need to be optimised, maintained and leveraged to support new disruptive challenges. Over time, experienced skilled staff from the initial implementation move on and new staff don’t get quite the same training.. That second phase project didn’t happen.
- Maintenance schedules slip.
- New System managers have not been trained.
- Critical patches and kernel updates have not been applied.
- System setting are no longer appropriate for the new data and transaction volumes and ways of working.
- System response seems slower, there are more problems with record locks and system hang.
- Users and managers get frustrated.
- Auditors question the data.
- Meanwhile cybercrime is at an all time high.

Ax 2009, Ax 2012 RTM, Ax 2012R1 and Ax 2012 R2 are already past end of Microsoft support.

Many Ax 2012 R3 will also not be upgrading for at least another year and need to get more from their system.

Your Dynamics AX ERP system is an important investment that is central to the efficiency and profitability of your business. Determining when and why it is appropriate for your organization to undergo a thorough system audit and health check can be complicated. In some instances, a business may not have the proper resources or expertise to conduct a system analysis.

Business decision makers and managers within an organization are susceptible to overlooking critical issues and process gaps because of their close proximity to the business operations. That is why our unbiased insights are so beneficial.

Our System Health Check for Dynamics AX consists of a thorough analysis of various process-related activities and system hardware and resources to identify the source of performance problems. These include: inadequate hardware, improperly configured resources, bad network architecture or poorly written system customizations.

System Health Check:
Evaluate system performance and resources
Review key configurations
Review the management of SQL, log files and history data.

System Audit:
identify process gaps within the system.
Identify unused features
Review how well the system configuration and account structure support the business needs.
Review user issues, and auditor comments.
Security

Development Audit:
Best practice code checks
Slow running reports and queries.
Batch case and workflow management and performance

User audit:
training level, use of system features, attitude /experience, access controls to do what is needed.
Data audit: errors, consistency checks, orphaned records, accounts balance with sub ledgers

In a few days we show you whether you can move forward with confidence, or how to recover a ‘distressed’ project. We deliver on time and on budget – don’t take our word for it ask our customers, ask Microsoft.

We have helped major companies audit struggling implementations, of Microsoft Dynamics Ax and taken them to the next level.

04336889

Legacy web client for Dynamics 365 CRM will be deprecated. New D365 Unified Client ask Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

October 3rd, 2019

On the 10th September 2019, Microsoft announced the legacy web client for Dynamics 365 CRM will be deprecated. Customers must transition to Unified Interface before October 1, 2020.
This will affect Dynamics 365 Sales, Dynamics 365 Customer Service, Dynamics 365 Field Service, Dynamics 365 Project Service, and Dynamics 365 Marketing customers.
According to Microsoft, they will “continue to provide support, security, and other critical updates to the Dynamics 365 legacy web client until October 1, 2020, but will not release any additional functionality beyond what has already been announced.”
In addition, the following capabilities will also be removed from Dynamics CRM solutions by October 1, 2020:
• Process dialogs
• Task flows
We expect other current functionality to also be deprecated within the next year.
New features include:
• Form Updates
• Entity Based Dashboards
• Business Process Flows
• Role Based Apps and Views
• Navigation and Views
• Panels and Subgrids
• Timelines
• Artificial Intelligence
Contact us for an upgrade analysis. We’ll help you consider the information you need before you transition to the new UI including:
• High-level state of your current CRM system
• Cloud and mobile strategy
• Usability
• List of all third-party ISVs
• User processes
• Tenant analysis
• Deployment methodology
• License changes from 1 Oct 2019

Dynamics 365 release wave 2 October 2019

October 2nd, 2019

In August, Microsoft brought Dynamics 365 2019 release wave 2 to early access. Initially, 74 new capabilities were showcased, targeting various applications that are part of Microsoft’s enterprise resource planning suite of services. These applications include Dynamics 365 for Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Field Service, Finance and Operations, and Retail, as well as the Power Platform which comprises of PowerApps, Flow, and Power BI.

We recently posted about new licensing changes.
At the same time this latest release wave is now generally availabile,

It brings over 400 new capabilities and feature updates to users – one of the largest ever update plans for Dynamics 365.

Microsoft has invested billions of dollars in AI research to bring insights to everyone in context of the task at hand—a key to transforming from a reactive to proactive organization. New AI-powered insights applications were also released last week, including: Dynamics 365 Product Insights, Commerce, and Connected Store.

Additional capabilities for already existing services were also introduced.

Moreover, Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection is also generally available starting today.

Power BI, gets new features every month. We now have a unified platform for enterprise BI, and self-service analytics for all.
•Unified platform for enterprise BI •Data Protection (Preview)
•Shared and Certified Datasets
•Data lineage capabilities (Preview)
•Open platform connectivity (XMLA Read/Write) (Preview)
•Datasets larger than 10GB in Power BI Premium (Preview)
•Admin usage metrics
•Unattended Power BI template app installation

•Self-service analytics for everyone •New experience for report consumption
•Home customization
•Mobile Home

Other apps on the Power Platform are also have updates, with AI Builder for Powerapps and Flow reaching general availability. Administrators benefit from richer tooling, such as PowerShell Command lets (cmdlets) and the new Power Platform Admin Center.

https://dynamics.microsoft.com/en-us/business-applications/product-updates/

Mainstream support for SharePoint Server 2010 ends in October 2020.

October 1st, 2019

Mainstream support for SharePoint Server 2010 will ends this time next year – October 2020.
Microsoft will completely end support for SharePoint Server 2010.

• No critical updates were released in 2017 for SharePoint Server 2010 under extended support.
• No security updates will be developed or released after end of support.
• The operating systems supporting SharePoint Server 2010 are reaching, or have reached end of support.

So its time to consider migration to SharePoint Server 2016 or SharePoint Server 2019 to modernize your infrastructure and take advantage of the latest in content collaboration and portal technologies.

Dynamics 365 license changes 1 October 2019 – are you ready?

September 28th, 2019

October 1, 2019 is the effective date for the beginning of Microsoft’s new licensing program for Dynamics 365. While the new pricing model kicks in on October 1, for new customers, existing customers will also transition to the new model at their next annual renewal. For example, if you just completed the annual renewal of your licenses on August 1, your licensing fees will not change until August 1, 2020.

Dynamics 365 will no longer offer multi-application bundles, for Customer Engagement (CE) and Unified Operations (UO) plans. Instead, they will adopt an ‘a la carte’ menu from which to select the licenses of individual apps.

Part of the change involves separately licensing features as ‘base models’ e.g. for Dynamics Finance and Operations Enterprise the enterprise base licensing options will be Supply Chain, or Finance, or Retail. Users who need the functionality of more than one base license can add the same features to an existing base license as an “Attach’ license at a significantly lower cost for the additional attach license.


The licensing for: Talent. and Marketing and Customer Insights are also affected but are a little different;

Microsoft suggests the overall effect will be around a 10% price increase.
Note there are also significant changes to the Power apps licenses.
That of course also reflects their rising costs of providing hosted services and considerable increases in system enhancements. It is however important you carefully consider who needs to use which application and features to ensure your license cost is optimised.

This note only scratches the surface and every Dynamics 365 customer will have a different set of requirements. Don’t wait for your subscription, renewal work with us now to better understand the changes to prepare and budget accordingly.

At the moment no changes have been announced for on premise licensing.
Activity users. Sales Professional, Customer Service Professional, and Team Member licensing will remain unchanged.

There are licensing options for:
• Additional environments
• Additional database capacity
• Additional file storage

Dynamics 365 Add-ons
Subscription add-ons apply across a single tenant; they are not tied to a specific user.
Subscription add-ons can be purchased at any time and remain a part of the subscription for the remainder of the subscription term.

Microsoft Power BI in Dynamics 365 – Dynamics 365 Unified Operations Plan and Dynamics 365 Plan
Users are not provided with any standalone or general-purpose Power BI license or use rights. Customers who require Power BI Pro will need to license and pay for it separately.
The Dynamics 365 Unified Operations applications themselves may embed Power BI content within the service User Interfaces. This is simply a product feature and no Power BI licensing is required to access this content (e.g. view embedded tables and charts)

Additional Common Data Service Capacity Add-ons
Common Data Service platform capacity add-ons gives flexibility to increase the storage capacity associated with your PowerApps subscription in increments of 1GB per additional capacity add-on license.

Subscription storage
Storage corresponding to a customer subscription is tracked against all the Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Plan application instances associated with the tenant.
The following add-on capacity licenses are available:
• Additional Common Data Service Capacity Add-on:
• Additional Common Data Service File Capacity Add-on
• Additional Common Data Service Log Capacity Add-on

Dynamics 365 for Marketing Additional Contacts Add-on
Dynamics 365 for Marketing is based only on the number of contacts intended to be used for marketing activity and not the total number of contacts in database. Minimum purchase quantities must be met to activate packs. Customers with Dynamics 365 for Marketing included with Customer Engagement Plan application (2K contacts included), are required to purchase the Additional Contacts 8K add-on pack before purchasing any of the other Additional Contacts packs.

Microsoft Social Engagement Additional Posts Add-on
The Additional Posts Add-on may be purchased in increments of 10,000, 100,000, or 1,000,000 posts per month. On the first day of the month, the number of purchased additional posts is added to the included quantity of 10,000 posts. All unused posts expire at the end of each month.

Portals and Page Views Add-on
The default Portal provided with Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Plan application be extended by purchasing licenses for additional portals, for use as a non-production additional production portals. Customers may purchase additional page views.

Dynamics 365 Call Intelligence Add-on
Conversation Intelligence, included capacity for Sales Insights, help sales teams gain insights from conversations with customers. Dynamics 365 Call Intelligence is a capacity add-on for Sales Insights that enables organizations to analyze additional hours of call recordings. Customers may purchase additional capacity (1k hours/tenant/month)

Dynamics 365 for Customer Service Chat Add-on
Customer Service Chat is an add-on capability for the Dynamics 356 Customer Service Enterprise application that helps agents engage in real-time with customers and resolve issues faster. Customer Service Chat is licensed per user and ensures that support agents and end users can interact effectively.

Use of historical Supervisor reporting through Omnichannel Intraday Insights, Omnichannel Chat Insights and Omnichannel Sentiment Insights Dashboards requires Power BI Pro license or higher.

Dynamics 365 for Field Service – Resource Schedule Optimization Add-on
- Resource Scheduling Optimization is an add-on capability for the Dynamics 365 for Field Service application that enables customers to automatically create a schedule for the appropriate resource in SharePoint, while simultaneously optimizing appointment setting for travel time, mileage, and many other constraints.
-Resource Schedule Optimization is licensed per resource included in the optimization process and will typically be accessed by a scheduler or dispatcher user who will designate any number of resources to be included. Resources may be individuals, such as field technicians or other human resources.
- The add-on license allows for unlimited use of schedule optimization, which may be on a regular cadence such as daily or weekly, or ad-hoc.
-A Dynamics 365 for Field Service license is required for managing the Resource Schedule Optimization.

Dynamics 365 Unified Operations – Order Lines Add-on
The Dynamics 365 for Operations – Order Lines Add-on allows customers to extend the use of their
application by providing a transactional licensing mechanism for indirect access by partners, customers,
connected automated systems, loT devices and bots. Dynamics 365 Unified Operations – Order Lines

For qualifying transaction types, customers will be able to license indirect access on a transactional ‘order line’ basis rather than on a per user basis
• Avoid common multiplexing licensing issues.
• Supports a broader set of external user integrations.
• Enables licensing of automated systems and devices that do not include users (e.g. IoT scenarios)
• Improves licensing cost transparency and predictability
• Ties licensing cost more directly with business outcomes

To be eligible for ‘order lines’ licensing a transaction must:
(i) Be an indirect transaction that utilizes an OData or DIXF integration. Direct usage of the Dynamics application or integrations outside of OData or DIXF may not utilize ‘Order Lines’ licensing.
(ii) Only update data in the tables designated as qualifying for Order Lines.

VAT update Qatar, KSA

September 10th, 2019

On 23 May 2019, Qatar’s General Tax Authority (GTA) disclosed to tax advisors in Qatar a new online tax management system known as “Dhareeba.” The new system should be available to taxpayers near the end of 2019, with all taxpayers expected to be registered before 1 January 2020, at which time Dhareeba will replace the current Tax Administrative System (TAS). PwC Qatar was invited to go through its own registration as a ‘pilot’ exercise during the last week of July 2019.

The Qatar General Tax Authority (‘GTA’) has redesigned the Tax website, allowing it to be operational in both English and Arabic. The website aims to provide vital information regarding any new taxes which may be implemented, particularly emphasizing the Excise Tax which came into effect on January 2019.

VAT is widely expected to be introduced on 1 Jan 2020. Synergy support several companies in Qatar and has a local registered company there. If you need assistance with planning VAT implementation for Dynamics Ax./Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, or Infor SunSystems then please contact us. we have already undertaken numerous VAT projects In the GCC.

You will find much useful advice in our previous blog posts.

Meanwhile today the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has suggested that the value-added tax (VAT) should be doubled from 5% to 10% in Saudi Arabia in consultation with the other Gulf countries. Analysts expect the hike in VAT rate will come only after 2021 once Kuwait and Oman will also be ready to implement it and as a customs union, the increase makes sense across the GCC countries.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia introduced the 5% value-added tax from January 2018 and both the countries surpassing their tax collection targets. So this proposed increase seems odd because it has already impacted businesses more than expected.

The Kingdom’s non-oil revenues last year increased by 59%, buoyed by the VAT, excises, expatriate levy, and proceeds from the settlement agreements. IMF estimated that the VAT rate increase will add 2.0% to the Kingdom’s GDP in 2024.

Of course, as a customs union, it is logical that GCC countries would seek to keep their VAT rates harmonized in order to prevent tax arbitrage opportunities emerging within the GCC.

Dynamics 365 rated highly by Nucleus Research for 2019

September 9th, 2019

Power BI wave 2 Oct 2019 – what’s new preview

August 18th, 2019

The 2019 release wave 2, 2019 release wave 2 -planned to release in the time frame October 2019-March 2020 – brings to market significant new capabilities to enable digital transformation for businesses. For Power BI, these new capabilities include:
Unified platform for enterprise BI
• Data Protection (Preview)
• Shared and Certified Datasets
• Data lineage capabilities (Preview)
• Open platform connectivity (XMLA Read/Write) (Preview)
• Datasets larger than 10GB in Power BI Premium (Preview)
• Admin usage metrics
• Unattended Power BI template app installation

Self-service analytics for everyone
• New experience for report consumption
• Home customization
• Mobile Home

SQL Server 2016SP2 Cumulative Update 8

August 3rd, 2019

The urgent security update earlier this month is not the only patch for SQL Server 2016 in July,
Microsoft has released SQL. SP2 CU8 (build number: 13.0.5426.0)
• Restores of compressed encrypted backups fail
• Data masking doesn’t
• DAXquery needs memory 200x larger than the database size
• Peer-to-peer replication fails when your host name isn’t uppercase
• QueryStore cleanup can fill the transaction log and cause an outage
•DistributedAvailability Groups cause memory dumps when automatic seeding
• AGreplication stops working due to internal thread deadlocks
•The deadlock monitor can cause an access violation
• Query a view with a union on a linked server,
• Concurrent inserts into a clustered columnstore index can deadlock
•Infiniteloop when FileTable is used for a long time without a restart
•SSAS2016 randomly crashes ( maybe not completely random if they fixed it)
•TransparentData Encryption doesn’t encrypt if it’s restarted mid-encryption

And much more.https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4505830/cumulative-update-8-for-sql-server-2016-sp2

I guess we will get a similar patch for Sp1 but by now you should be on a later patch

“Disbursements & Reimbursements’: U.A.E. – VAT clarification

July 31st, 2019

The Federal Tax Authority (‘FTA’) has released a Public Clarification on “Disbursements & Reimbursements” which addresses how to distinguish reimbursements and disbursements, and to clarify the applicable VAT treatment.

U.A.E. businesses incur expenses and subsequently recover such expenses from another party. The VAT treatment of the subsequent recovery of expenses depends on whether the recovery is a “disbursement” or a “reimbursement”.

The first step to determine whether a recovery is a disbursement or reimbursement is to establish whether you have acted as a principal or an agent in purchasing the goods or services

General principles to determine the VAT treatment of such recoveries:
Where a taxable person acts in the capacity of an agent, the recovery would generally amount to a disbursement.
A disbursement does not constitute a supply and is,therefore, not subject to VAT

Where a taxable person acts in the capacity of a principal, the recovery would generally amount to a reimbursement.
A reimbursement is part of consideration for the supply and follows the same VAT treatment as the main supply.

Principles

* The other party (from who you are recovering such expenses) should be the recipient of the goods or services;

* The other party should be responsible for making the payment to the supplier;

* The other party should have received an invoice or tax invoice in their own name from the supplier;

* The other party should have authorized you to make the payment on his behalf;

* The goods or services paid for should clearly be additional to the supplies you make to the other party;

* he payment should separately be shown on the invoice and you should recover the exact amount paid to the supplier, without a mark-up.

* You should have contracted for the supply of goods or services in your own name and capacity;

* You should have received the goods or services from the supplier;

* The supplier should have issued the invoice in your name;

* You have the legal obligation to make payment to the supplier;

* In case of goods, you should own the goods prior to making any onward supply.

Examples

Company A procured group medical insurance from a local insurance company and received an invoice directly from the insurance company.

* Company A requested Company B to make the payment on its behalf.

* The subsequent recovery of the amount by Company B from Company A will amount to a disbursement, and would not be subject to VAT.

* Company A should ensure that the Tax Invoice is addressed to it from the insurance company and should recover the input tax through its UAE VAT return, subject to the normal input tax recovery rules.

Company A entered into a contract with Company B to provide marketing services.

* The contract stipulated that Company A would be eligible to reimburse the expenses from Company B.

* Company A incurred the expenses in its own name and subsequently recovered the amounts from Company B as per the terms of the contract.

* The recovery of expenses from Company B would follow the same VAT treatment as that of the main supply.

We recommend;

* Identify the nature of your contract and agent/principal relationships (if any) based on the above principles;
* Ensure that all disbursements have proper authorizations (contracts); and
* Re-view all inter-company disbursements/ reimbursements (cross-charges).

Dynamics 365 license changes – from 1 October 2019

July 22nd, 2019

There was a lot of exciting product and technology news form Microsoft’s Inspire event in Las Vegas this month.
Not so inspiring for many of the audience was the announcement of changes in licensing to take effect as early as 1 October this year.

if you are an existing Dynamics 365 customer on the cloud for any app then you are affected, as are those intending to buy.

For now there is no change to on-premise licenses (some D365 apps are only available on the cloud).

Effective October 1 , 2019, Customer Engagement Plan, Unified Operations Plan, and Dynamics 365 Plan
SKUs will be removed from all price lists. Finance and Operations will be split into individual applications – one for Supply Chain Management, and one for Finance. This change will enable customers to purchase suitable core workload application(s) for individual user
needs going forward.

Core workload Business Applications are Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Project Service Automation, Supply Chain Management, Finance, Retail, and Talent. The current plan offerings for :Customer Engagement Plan, Unified Operations Plan, and Dynamics 365 Plan be removed from all channels and for all licensing segments.

The new ‘ la carte’ approach is user license (USL) based.

Base license: the first Business Application purchased at the standard price.
Attach licenses are the additional USL application(s) at a flat price of:
$20 per Customer Engagement application
or
$30 per Unified Operations application.

• Each Attach license can only be assigned to a user with the prerequisite Base license.
• When purchasing multiple Business Applications, the Base license must be the higher priced license.
• Each user may only have one Base license.
• Attach license:USL application(s) incrementally purchased after the Base license. Users may have
as many Attach licenses as needed.
• Base and Attach licenses are identical in their core capabilities and are only differentiated in price. .

Business Applications that can’t be purchased as Attach licenses:
Core workload Business Applications:
• Project Service Automation
• Marketing
• Talent
Non-core workload applications:
• Customer Insights
• Microsoft Relationship Sales solution
• Sales Insights
• Marketing Additional Application
Customer Service Chat
• Resource Scheduling Optimization
• comprehensive hiring
• Order Lines
• Forms Pro
• All capacity add-ons

Customers seeking one Business Application per user should only purchase a Base license per user.
Single Business Applications priced between $50-$180 are less expensive than Customer Engagement Plan ($115) or Unified Operations Plan ($190) today.

For existing customers there is no immediate change to customers’ existing agreement. They can true up seats at the renewal anniversary as required. At renewal (after the beginning October 2019), customers must renew on the new Attach construct. They must have a qualified Base license for each user and assign the additional Attach licenses to their multiple application users as required. Its possible that someone will be able to use lower cost licenses.

Supply Chain Management, Finance, and Retail apps have a 20-user minimum purchase requirement. There is a difference between CE and CSA licensing in this respect..

There is no change in dual use rights. Dual use rights vary by application.

Power Bi new installers – be ready to change your upgrade scripts

July 20th, 2019

Currently, Microsoft builds and publish 84 different .msi files for installing Power BI – a 32-bit and a 64-bit one for each of the 42 languages it supports/

They have just completed work to wrap these into two installers (32- and 64-bit), which will give users the ability to change the language of the UI and model without having to install a new version.

An enterprise administrator who manages the rollout of Power BI Desktop to users in multiple languages will find this much easier.

You can get the new single installer at https://aka.ms/pbiSingleInstaller, and you still find the separate MSIs for each language at https://www.microsoft.com/download/details.aspx?id=45331.

The MSIs will continue to be available (and updated each month) until the September update, after which only the new single installer will be available.

If you have scripts that pull new versions of Power BI Desktop from the Microsoft Download Center, need to be update to point to the new location before October 1st

Integration as a Service – ask Synergy Software Systems, Dubai about Snap Logic

July 2nd, 2019

Why do companies like Adobe, AstraZeneca, Box, GameStop, OSN, Verizon, and Wendy’s choose SnapLogic?

They have a problem that many other companies are facing today. On one side, business managers rely more and more on SaaS applications and big data for daily tasks yet IT is responsible for integrating the applications. These business managers need daily access to accurate information but can’t always wait for IT. On the other side, IT is managing multiple projects, including integration requests and is working with far fewer resources. Requests can take weeks or even months to complete and business leaders can’t wait that long, so end up making decisions based on less than perfect data.

The Snaplogic Enterprise Integration Cloud comes with Iris Artificial Intelligence built in. Take away he complexity of dealing with multiple applications, big data, complex APIs, and IoT and abstract it into drag and drop components, all in one platform. SnapLogic’s Iris AI further democratizes the use of data by empowering users from all departments and teams to make data-driven decisions quickly and easily with higher accuracy. Business manager can now do their own analysis with minimal support from IT and make informed, data-backed decisions quickly.

IT people can spend less time building routine integrations and more time helping the business grow. SnapLogic is already helping many businesses with these challenges. GameStop reduced the amount of time it took to build integrations by 83%. Business processes cut across functions and applications. Transform business processes faster and stay focused on managing your business with data-driven insights rather than spend time on writing and maintaining code.

General Electric’s (now Suez Water) employees are 4 times more productive when it came to onboarding partners through its multiple systems.

AstraZeneca has more than 500 users around the world who are performing self-service integrations.

Box has connected 40 applications and is processing more than 15M transactions daily with only 1.5 full-time developers needed to support this volume.

Corporate performance management or Big data analytics from multiple, disparate corporate erp and finance systems, hybrid cloud and on premise integration, migrating to the cloud or to new software versions, IoT, T@A, EAM systems, WMS systems, Payroll systems, there are many integration challenges.

To support your digital transformation call us on 0097143365589

Oman and VAT – Ask Synergy Software Systems to help prepare and update your systems

June 30th, 2019

Oman government representatives have said that the state is looking to implement a 5% VAT regime from 1 September 2019. In 2017,
it signed the Gulf Cooperation Council VAT Framework Agreement, which included: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait. Local media reports in March 2019 quoted a senior official from Oman’s Ministry of Finance as saying that the date of implementation of VAT in Oman is under review. The official reportedly indicated that the target date had been 1 September 2019 but that this is not confirmed, although the intention clearly remains to implement VAT as early as possible. Businesses should take this as a cue to continue their VAT implementation plans in Oman, or restart and reinvigorate those if the work has been put on hold.

A key lesson from our experience of VAT implementation projects in UAE, KSA and Bahrain, across more than 100 companies is that companies that started their VAT planning and implementation projects early had a smoother transition to VAT, than those that waited for the final publication of the domestic law and regulations. A ‘wait and see’ approach backfired on many businesses in the UAE, KSA and Bahrain where there was minimal time between the release of the law and regulations and the go-live date for adequate training, data preparation and testing, and a shortage of resources in the market to cope with the backlog.

There are practical steps to take now. the first is to form an internal VAT working group of key stakeholders to monitor developments in VAT and ensure that VAT is on the Board agenda and is included in budget discussions. The working group will be best placed to negotiate professional services to support implementation, to train end users, and to define test scenarios, etc.

Next ensure there is VAT awareness is key – customers, vendors, and staff. Many in the region have never dealt with VAT, and a solid understanding of the mechanics, scope and terminology of the tax takes time, and that is a necessary foundation for the next steps.

Document your transaction flows . VAT is a transaction tax, with each transaction triggering a potential VAT consequence. This will help you to identify: software changes, processes to update, training needs, data collection needs, commercial document redesign, financial report redesign etc.

Review Contract to ensure they are ‘future proofed’ for the introduction of VAT. For example, to identify whether they include suitable clauses allowing VAT to be charged in addition to contractually agreed prices. The UAE VAT law clearly mandated that communication be sent to all customers within a specific timeline stipulating whether their contracts will be treated as exclusive of tax, failing which customers can dispute the tax being charged in the contract. Therefore, revisiting contractual obligations for both customers and vendors and determining cutover dates, incorporating tax clauses and revising prices and quotations will play a pivotal role to safeguard the business interests of all parties to a contract.

There will be transactions which are closed before the go-live date, and there will be instances where payment is received post the go-live date or where the supply is scheduled post the go-live date, but where the relevant invoices are paid prior to it. Failure to assess and communicate/agree on the VAT impact between all parties to the transaction on such spillover transactions might increase the cost of such transactions and either of the parties may be out of pocket in such scenarios, and there may be unwelcome friction with trading partners, if not managed.

IT infrastructure will be the ‘backbone’ of the VAT compliance function from issuing VAT compliant invoices to producing the VAT return.

Identify VAT resource requirements, particularly external consultants and auditors. Skilled VAT resources are drawn from a diminishing pool of individuals. Take advantage of the experience gained by service providers implementing in Dubai, KSA and Bahrain. There are many wrinkles, not immediately obvious.

Industry associations can raise common issues and concerns with the Ministry of Finance, particularly in advance of the formal publication of the VAT law.

While you can choose to defer VAT implementation be ready to demonstrate to your owners/investors/respective boards and shareholders, that you have done so only after undertaking an appropriate level of due diligence of the likely preparation of the VAT environment. Some key areas include:

Upgrades to ERP systems and user acceptance testing Reporting
Timely VAT registration, (company by company or at Group level?)
Timely Collection of Tax registration numbers for Trading partners
Timely returns, accrual and and payment of taxes
Scoping the need for professional service and selection/references, time for reaching agreement with partners.
Unforeseen penalties
Cash flow management – how will this change? the delayed inflow on account of receipts from customers; outflow after the discharge of tax liabilities on supplies without consideration/deemed supplies (if any); outflow on account of payment to vendors; and additional outflow due to the payment of taxes (net of input tax recoverable) to tax authorities.

Tracking changes in law/ public clarifications

Some businesses in the UAE and Saudi Arabia faced challenges when ERP systems were not implemented in time to capture VAT on transactions or to generate customised VAT payable or receivable reports. The first quarter of the respective VAT regimes required substantial manual effort to properly account for transactions.

Another hurdle was training staff on the upgraded ERP software as well as new reporting standards

In a test system for financial or erp system, for training and requirement scope you could get early familiarity with the Dubai or KSA framework – there are unlikely to be major changes in the Oman framework.

If you current system is largely manual, or has significant limitations then now be the time to plan for upgrade, or reimplementation or a new system. The UAE VAT law has a penalty provision whereby every incorrect invoice can trigger an AED 5,000 fine (approx. OMR 500), irrespective of the value of the invoice. Exposure to these fines can be significant in industries where high volumes of transactions are made per day, for example the retail, utilities and banking industries. Compliance depends on a robust system and operations preparedness. The audit trail of the process, and other documents, help to ensure correct and timely filing of the returns as well as avoiding any unwarranted penalties.

Businesses across the globe tend to see a fall in demand where the display prices on products do not include VAT, specifically in the case of products which are price sensitive. The implementation of a new indirect tax law will have an impact on turnover and consumer preferences. Some prices ma need to be rounded up or down. You may need to show VAT separately, item by item on a receipt or invoice – is your software able to do that?

Given that the potential VAT rate in Oman may vary between 5 per cent, exempted, non-taxable and zero-rated, businesses should ascertain the price impact of VAT on imports which are recoverable and non-recoverable, final product pricing and alternative sourcing if imports are expensive, and vice versa.

Calorie display on Dubai menus – are you ready? Ask Synergy Software Systems.

June 30th, 2019

It will soon be mandatory to display the caloric value of each and every item in the menu, in whichever form it is. The Food Safety Department announcement is that:
All food outlets in Dubai have to display calorie content of ready-to-eat foods by January 1, 2020.
An early deadline of November 1, 2019 is set for establishments with more than five branches to implement it.

The circular and guidebook is posted on municipality’s portal www.dm.gov.ae and has clear instructions for labelling nutritional value with examples for manual calculation in Excel-sheet templates.

The department will verify the accuracy of the calculations through auditing. It will also at a later stage, provide an electronic-platform for computing the calories

Eateries, including fast food chains, must display caloric value of food items either on the menu or at the point of sale. There are some establishments that already declare calorie content on packaging, flyers, tray mats, websites etc. However, the municipality wants everyone to display the caloric value, against each item in the menu from which diners choose items at the point of sale. When there is no menu, then it should be in the menu boards or the menu displayed on tablets — basically, whichever form of the menu which the consumer checks for choosing the food.

Dubai eateries will have options how to calculate calorie contents for display in the menus to comply with a new regulation that aims to help diners make informed choices. For most a software package will be administratively simplest to ensure compliance.

For online menus displayed for food ordering services, the rule will not be mandatory, for the time being, since the department is not regulating electronic platforms for food delivery.

Dubai Municipality says that Food establishments in Dubai should declare in their menus the calorie content of all ready-to-eat food items.

The primary objective of the rule is to help diners make healthy food choices for reducing obesity and related diseases. The Food Safety Department of Dubai Municipality hopes to make a big difference in food decisions taken by diners just with the knowledge of how much of calories they consume.
The population of Dubai is three million. As per our calculations, we expect more than one billion food decisions to be based on the calorie count displayed in menus in a year,” Iman Ali Al Bastaki, Director of the Department
.
During the six months of the World Expo 2020 starting on October 20, 2020, Dubai expects to welcome 25 million visitors. Hence, the number of food decisions taken based on displayed calories is expected to be multi-billion during the Expo.

For example, a food outlet making a traditional meal with a lot of oil will have to display a high caloric value for the meal. When consumers prefer to go for another meal with less calories or a smaller portion of the same meal, the establishment will encourage its chefs to reduce the use of oil, thereby reducing the calories and providing a healthier meal.

Dubai, is the first emirate in the UAE to implement such a rule. It referred to similar practices in countries like the US and Canada. Dubai already has a system of nutrition labelling that displays all nutritional values in packaged food items e.g.: sugar, sodium, fat.

For cooked or prepared food that is ready-to-eat, the first step in declaration is the basic declaration of calories. The municipality wants to ensure the readiness of the market before moving to the next level of detailed nutrition labelling in cooked foods.

This is part of a holistic approach that Dubai Municipality has been working on to improve health and to reduce obesity and diabetes in Dubai that include healthy meal project in school canteens, an initiative to reduce salt and sugar content in bakery items and verification of claims about healthy food items.

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